At this point in the holiday season, you've probably spent a good chunk of change trying to woo your boo, impress your friends, and flatter anyone else who matters in your life. So now is as a good time to give your wallet a break and get some free stuff this week. To kick things off, Monday will see La Cocina in Hialeah host a pre-Nochebuena fiesta, complete with coquito, food, tunes, and a charitable initiative benefitting the local homeless. Post-Christmas entertainment options abound, including the monthly Jazz at MOCA with the Miami Big Sound Orchestra this Friday and a pop-up opera experience in the Design District Saturday. And celebrate the final days of the decade Sunday at the hilarious and satirical King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove.
Here are the best free things to do in Miami this week:
The night before Nochebuena (AKA Christmas Eve), La Cocina in Hialeah will host a charitable and activity-packed Noche Noche Buena Party. How should you prepare for the gathering? For starters, bring a pair of new or gently used shoes to donate to the local nonprofit Shoes for Streets, which will share them with homeless members of the Miami community. Your shoe donation gets you a free beer, glass of wine, or shot of coquito. Also on the agenda for the evening are free cigars, free food (including a roast pig till it runs out) and a free shot of coquito when the clock strikes midnight. 5 p.m. Monday, December 23, at La Cocina, 1000 E. 16th St., Hialeah; lacocinahialeah.com. Admission is free.
There may never be a musical act like the French-bred Latin-rock band Mano Negra ever again. Led by the multilingual, multifaceted Manu Chao, the band rocked through the mid-'80s and early '90s, delivering ska-inspired tunes in too many languages to follow. The group's biggest hits include "King Kong Five" and "King of Bongo," among other cult faves. Relive the glory days with a tribute performance by Radio Bemba at Copper Blues in CityPlace Doral this Thursday evening. It's the group's first gig in Miami, and it's not often you get to catch Mano Negra's music in a live setting. 9:30 p.m. Thursday, December 26, at Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen, CityPlace Doral, 3450 NW 83rd Ave., #224, Doral. Admission is free; RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Things are shaping up to be big at the December edition of the monthly Jazz at MOCA. How big? Well, the Miami Big Sound Orchestra, packing big-band jazz brilliance, will perform. With a repertoire spanning compositions by Rafael "Cali" Valencia to the Grammy-winning artist Chino Nuñez, this show will get you standing and shaking. 8 p.m. Friday, December 27, at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org. Admission is free.
If you hear glass breaking in the Design District this Saturday night, don't automatically blame the opera — it's perfectly possible someone might have dropped a glass. However, Pop-Up Opera will be happening in Paradise Plaza thanks to New Opera NYC and artistic director Igor Konyukhov. As part of the program, tenor Edgar Miguel Abréu, mezzo-soprano Courtney Miller, and soprano Meghan Barrera will perform snippets from La Traviata and other operas. DJ Keen One will open things up at 6 before the opera portion kicks off at 7 sharp. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 28, in Paradise Plaza, 151 NE 41st St., Miami; eventbrite.com. Admission is free.
It's time for the 38th-annual King Mango Strut! The self-declared "weirdest parade in the universe" lives up to its name — it's one of the zaniest events you'll ever see in Miami. This Coconut Grove tradition reliably includes satirical characters, groups, and floats for as far as the eye can see. Cleverly named past favorites include the Million Chad March, Osama Piñata, and Cuban Eye for the Gringo Guy. In the event you have a last-minute stroke of inspiration and realize you have a wacky idea for a character and want to strut around Coconut Grove in goofy attire, you can apply to participate too. 2 p.m. Sunday, December 29, on Commodore Plaza, Grand Avenue, and Main Highway, Coconut Grove. Admission is free, but donations via kingmangostrut.org are encouraged.
Though Christmas will be long over by this Sunday, it's never too late to watch the holiday classic Home Alone. As a post-Noël community treat, O Cinema is set to host a pop-up film experience at the Wynwood Marketplace. Besides getting a little seasonal cheer, you can take notes from Kevin McAllister (Macauley Caulkin) on what to do if Joe Pesci tries to break into your home. 7 p.m. Sunday, December 29, at the Wynwood Marketplace, 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that Family Day at the Bass Museum was scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 29.
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